Automotive Restoration for beginners
By Phil Storr
Good quality socket and open end/ring spanner sets screw drivers, pliers, cutters, hack saw and tin snips. 1kg mash hammer, 500g engineers hammer and a set of body repair tools.
Electric drill and quality drill bits, 100mm Angle grinder with a supply of cut-off wheels and grinding disks. Metal chisels, wire brushes and paint brushes. Axle stands, hydraulic jack, safety goggles, ear muffs and a suitable respirator.
Panel files, abrasive strip holder and rubber sanding blocks
An assortment of bits of metal bar and tubing come in handy to prod and pry and to use as drifts.
Air compressor and range of air tools. Air tools are far safer to use than electric tools and the sanders can be used for wet sanding.
Several Spray guns: - Putty gun, small touch up gun, under body sealer gun and fish oil gun and a high quality top-coat gun if you are going to put on your own top-coat.
- Most useful air tools Impact wrench, air drill, air chisel.
- Desirable air tools Air shear, nibbler, cutoff tool, die grinder, air wrench, joggle tool.
- Other air tools Orbital sander, random orbital sander, washdown, gun, caulking gun, sand blaster.
Gas torch of some sort. For many restoration jobs an LPG/Oxygen torch will be sufficient. The big problem with any gas welding outfit is the rental on the gas bottles. As you will not be using the equipment very often you may be able to get a friend to share the equipment and bottle rentals.
A small Mig Welder. I have found a gasless Mig not satisfactory for light panel work and recommend using one with a gas bottle.
If you are going to get into cutting up cars to recycle panels or to do a cut-and-shut then you will need a few very heavy tools. I have found the most useful tool is a Sabre Saw, closely followed by a BIG Angle Grinder. If your budget can stretch to one, a High Pressure washer will make the task of disassembling the car much cleaner if you clean it before you start on the project. An alternative is to put it on a trailer and take it down to your local car wash late at night but they do not like all that grease and gunge going into their recycle system.
Written by Phil. Storr, last updated 8th September 2000